Thousands of Gujjars in the National Capital Region blocked major entry points to Delhi, burnt effigies, fought the police and indulged in stone-pelting on Thursday, hampering normal life in several areas.
A 500-strong mob blocked the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road near Khanpur village in south Delhi at 9 a.m. Soon after, people started pelting stones from rooftops, injuring some villagers and police officers. “A police officer fired in the air to disperse the protesters, who in turn chased the police,” said former Municipal Corporation of Delhi councillor Virendra Kasana, who was among the protesters.
Outside Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s south Delhi residence, another set of protesters shouted slogans and brunt her effigy. At Jantar Mantar, Gujjar leaders condemned the Raje government and the Rajasthan police, and took out a candlelight march on Rajpath. “The protests will stop only if our fellow community members in Rajasthan get their due and action is taken against the indiscriminate firing,” said All India Gujjar Mahasabha general secretary Yashvir Singh.
There are over 350 small and big Gujjar-dominated villages in the city, the chunk of them in outer Delhi.
The police are also keeping an eye on the Capital’s prominent Gujjar leaders, Additional Commissioner and Delhi Police spokesman Deependra Pathak said. “We are talking to them to ensure people are not inconvenienced in the coming days. Police personnel will be deployed at all major roads that were blocked on Thursday,” he added.
Peaceful demonstrations were also organised in the satellite towns. At a panchayat in Gurgaon’s Naringpur village, community members demanded compensation for the families of those killed in the police firing in Rajasthan. Small demonstrations were also held in Faridabad. In Noida, Gujjars demonstrated outside the city magistrate’s office and submitted a memorandum demanding justice for those affected. In Greater Noida, protesters burnt Raje’s effigy. Activists said Gujjars from Gautam Budha Nagar would march to Dausa if justice was not done.